somebody almost ran off with my stuff

by Sami Bennett

a poem in response to and in dedication of Ntozake Shange’s “somebody almost walked off wid alla my stuff”

somebody almost ran off with all my stuff too, Ntozake Shange
like a real thief, took my stuff where i’d left it
at the foot of the tree of life where I was climbing
away on a dead branch / hurt myself bad that day
so bad i’d’ve almost ripped my own lungs out if i could’ve
somebody almost ran off with all my stuff
couldn’t tell my stuff from theirs and was walkin away
with me not knowin / staring at the sky as if it were candy
somebody almost ran off with all my stuff / not my
shy dances or my loud songs or the voice of the school girl
somebody almost ran off with all my stuff
bring back now my fantasy world / it’s no use to you
you can’t put words in it the way i can
those characters don’t talk to you / bring back
my memories of sunny days and the music of the dance
bring back my touch and my feel and my soul
i didn’t know it was so easy to give it all away
somebody almost ran off with all my stuff ‘fore I knew
what that stuff did and how it felt and who to blame
when i got my stuff stolen / somebody almost got away with it
‘cept they didn’t realize that stuff was mostly stuff they gave
me and i didn’t want it no more / didn’t like the taste of it
and with that stuff out of the way i started to find my old stuff
and i dusted it off till it shone and i found the right kind of
somebodies that don’t steal my stuff cus they don’t even want it
they’ve got their own damn stuff and that’s enuf
but i’ll keep my stuff with me when i climb trees now
and show it off at the top branches as i gaze down
and think bout how hard it is to think there’s not a god
when there’s somebody like me in the world

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